28-year-old FREDDIE BULLIARD is the founder of the GAS DANDY website and magazine and merchandise empire. Here he talks to BROOKS TUFER of TIRETRACKS.COM
BROOKS TUFER: How did you come to found Gas Dandy?
FREDDIE BULLIARD: I guess my inspiration came when I looked around the automotive landscape and realised there were only a few dozen websites devoted to extremely shallow depth-of-field photographs of classic automobiles alongside derivative and low quality text, and that none of them spoke directly to me or had been paid for by my father. I founded Gas Dandy to change all of that, under the motto “Go steer and be stylish”. The motto came almost before the site and I believe it fits our values as snugly as my pair of J.M. Preston vintage camel leather driving gauntlets fit my hands.
Have you always been interested in cars?
Oh certainly! I guess I’m just like a lot of people in that my earliest memories are flying along in my father’s Ferrari 330 GT or watching the trees flit by from the rear of my mother’s Range Rover on the oh-so-familiar road to East Hampton. I think these early experiences had a profound effect on me and I know people can relate to that. That’s why Gas Dandy exists, as a way to ultimately capture the experiential side of the vehicular firmament and then package it into a website subscription model and an extremely glossy magazine plus three or four high-priced car shows per year with further merchandising opportunities.
On that note, your car shows seem to go from strength to strength!
When I founded Autokunst I had no idea that it would grow into such a phenomenon, starting as it did with just a few like-minded souls and a cheque from my father for thousands of dollars to create a campaign based around targeted social media saturation. Autokunst of course means “car art” in German and that was always the guiding ethos behind the shows. Cars are art in themselves and expressing them in this way goes together as naturally as this Joshua Ephithard shirt with Mullholland collar goes with this vintage tweed Selway & Sons cool weather sport coat. Naturally, I’m delighted with the way Autokunst has grown and I’m pleased to say for future shows we’re working in partnership with Ashward & Brewster Coffee Co. because of course coffee is something I’m pointlessly intense about and I sincerely hope our readers are just as needlessly snobbish about it as I am. Though this is merely the Belgian leaf sugar icing on the Weintrob Company of 42nd Street bespoke cake, of course. The stars of the show will always be the vehicles and the art of the ride or, as they say in German, “die kunst der fahrt”. It’s a motto I hear a lot.
The use of German here is significant, not because of the well-known allegations about your great-grandfather’s sympathies in the forties, but because of your famous love of one particular car.
Yes, the Porsche 911 will always hold a special place in my heart, air cooled of course. It’s as classical as a Five Rivers Triple Oaked Special Family Reserve 29 year old bourbon yet as crisp and sporting as these Brooks St Christopher Style 19 Jimmy Connors edition tennis pumps in white calf leather.
Many people love air cooled 911s, but you decided to take it one further by launching your own customised 911s.
That’s correct. When I launched the concept of the Lone Wolf 911 by Freddie Bulliard I completely expected the predictable reactions. It’s very easy to say I have taken a perfectly good air cooled 911, fitted it with some generic tuning and suspension parts, ruined the appearance with mismatched panels and the wrong lights and then installed a very dished steering wheel but that is to miss the point. The point is that I’m charging $270,000 for them.
Given your love of the 911 and your new enterprise in selling ones with check seats and replica Fuchs wheels that don’t quite look right, do you spend much time in Germany?
I summer in Europe often, but my spiritual home there is Italy. I can honestly say, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather spend time taking endless softly lit detailed photographs of an old Alfa Romeo or watching my videographer Stefan setting up yet another slow slider shot of my Pennywell Rothsmere 1972 vintage moose leather driving bootees as I stand next to a Ferrari.
What do you never leave home without?
It depends which home, but I would have to say the one thing I never travel without is my camera. It’s a Leica M Jodie Foster Edition. They only made seven and Miss Foster has two. She confirmed this to me personally in Cannes last year.
I’m sure I won’t be alone in wondering, whose socks are you wearing?
Oh, these? They’re Jacob Canteravalla 1872 edition double thread foot sheaths in amber gold and rustic earth. I won’t wear anything else.
What most surprises people about you?
I guess how humble I am.
Freddie, thank you.
Yes, it’s a 1967 Patek Philippe Caltrava reference 570 in white gold.